filmaniac

Blue Velvet/1986/English

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: David Lynch
Why FiC recommends?
1) Eerie, but no horror; Bizarre, but not absurd; repulsive, but sticky; erotic, but no porn.
2) Blue velvet could serve as a classic start for the cine-buffs who want to explore David Lynch’s filmography. Elements of absurdity here is quite balanced, it’s not too much – not too less.

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Astu – So Be It/2013/Marathi

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Sumitra Bhave, Sunil Sukthankar
Why FiC recommends?
1) A poetic movie around a retired professor who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.
2) ‘Astu’, through its heart touching storyline, establishes an important aspect of the need of human (family) interaction for the elderly people.

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Shahid/2012/Hindi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Hansal Mehta
Why FiC recommends?
1) Shahid is a biographical drama based on the life of Shahid Azmi, a lawyer and human rights activist who was behind the acquittals of several falsely implicated.
2) There is no over-dramatization anywhere in Shahid; even the courtroom scenes are very realistically shown.
3) With this film the director Hansal Mehta made a solid comeback to Bollywood.

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Jallikattu/2019/Malayalam

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Lijo Jose Pellissery
Why FiC recommends?
1) Jallikattu isn’t an unusual movie just for the sake of it. On the outset it may look like just another ambitious visual narration of a long-running political situation in few southern states of India. But Jallikattu is about many more things – animal politics, madness of masculinity, human monstrosity and more.
2) With each movie, Lijo Jose is just raising the expectations on his movies and Jallikattu is the latest addition to it.
3) Does that rouge buffalo on the run in this movie an allegory for the ‘system/society on the run’ in India? quite possible!

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Inland Empire/2006/English

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: David Lynch
Why FiC recommends?
1) A three hours long psychotropic meditation, where you fail to comprehend it as a whole but you learn that something beautiful happening there which makes you stick to the screens
2) Like Mulholland Dr., there’s Hollywood here too (or I think it is about Hollywood) but there are other things which pop up here but God knows why! But all makes sense somehow, including those animals that talk in this film remain with you, like forever!
3)Is it the trippiest film by the director? Possibly ‘yes’!

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Mulholland Drive/2001/English

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: David Lynch
Why FiC recommends?
1) Hardcore David Lynch fans might not consider Mulholland Drive to be his best creation. But this film brought the special genre psycho-sexual surrealism to the mainstream.
2) The mysterious relationship between Rita and Betty adds on to the delight of witnessing seemingly unconnected and surreal chain of events.
3) Even though understanding Mulholland Drive in the first (first few?!) watch is almost impossible, an involved viewer can sense that the film as a whole is trying to address something around the self-indulgent pop culture that has creeped into (and spoiling?) the Hollywood system.

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Gangs of Wasseypur/2012/Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Anurag Kashyap
Why FiC recommends?
(note: This FiC comment is on the world release of the film which combined both Part 1 & 2 with a total runtime of 5hr 21min)
1) This epic crime saga running across over seven decades and three generations is one of its kind in many ways. Although many filmbuffs tend to call it as Indian version of ‘Godfather’, it is more than that; even though crime sits at the center of the story there is abundance of reinvented sense of humor, satire, daring political comments and refreshing and well suited music throughout the length.
2) When the film ends it fills in a weird feeling of emptiness; by then you would understand ‘betrayal follows crime and both are part of a vicious cycle’
3) It also paved way to lot of super-talented actors towards Indian cinema circuit (just have a look at the cast!)

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Dev.D/2009/Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Anurag Kashyap
Why FiC recommends?
1) DevD can be considered as one of the major spotlights in contemporary Indian cinema. When regular Bollywood films were becoming too filmsy and parallel waves were not even trying to reach to masses, DevD came.
2) Dev (performed by Abhay Deol) is not a typical Bollywood hero with all God like qualities; he is just as confused as most of us are, but with a difference – he is weirdly expressive, self-destructive and a drug addict without guilt.
3) The triangular (love?) story of Dev-Paro-Leni is a difficult yet delightful watch.
4) Amit Trivedi deserves a special mention for his brilliant music composition that gels so well with the flow of the story and covers so many genres including rock and jazz.

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The House That Jack Built/2018/English

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Lars von Trier
Why FiC recommends?
1) Polarizing views on Lars Von Trier films isn’t something new; this film isn’t an exception too. Most of his films have revolved around human psych and here the protagonist is a homicide.
2) The house that jack builds (I just avoided a spoiler here!) is very symbolic, in fact the whole movie symbolic and feels like a mirror to the undiscovered inner human psych which is so difficult to accept.
3) The portrayal of ‘hell’ in the final chapter is dreamlike and gives a lot of room for the audience to ponder upon, which simply is a big win.

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Manderlay/2005/English

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Lars von Trier
Why FiC recommends?
1) Manderlay is the follow up film by Lars Von after groundbreaking ‘Dogville’ as part of ‘Land of Opportunities’ trilogy.
2) The system of oppression and the unexpected consequences when an outsider tries to correct it is shown in an unapologetic manner.
3) Just like Dogville, this film is also made in an ultra-minimalist stage-like set up – allowing the audience to concentrate only on the ‘content’.

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Dogville/2003/English

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Lars von Trier
Why FiC recommends?
1) Dogville is ‘one of its kind’ cinema achievement in terms of making and storytelling technique. The whole film happens on a stage-like minimal setup. This intriguing crime revenge tragedy is told in 9 chapters and a prologue
2) In an interview the director Lars Von Trier said about the film “evil can arise anywhere, as long as the situation is right”. A film to be watched studied and remembered.

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Kattradhu Thamizh/2007/Tamil

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Ram
Why FiC recommends?
1) This film is a gripping emotional journey of the protagonist, wherein each event has a point to make.
2) The film lives up to the vision of the debutante director Ram (now he is an important Tamil filmmaker) – He is able to bring out his angst against the ills of the society quite effectively without any hesitation.

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Breaking the Waves/1996/English

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Lars von Trier
Why FiC recommends?
1) A brutally realistic drama that revolves around religion, sex and obsession.
2) It should be noted that it is this film which made international star out of Emily Watson (and Stellan Skarsgård too!)
3) After successful dystopian trilogy, through Breaking the Waves Lars Von Trier started his new cinema journey of exploring human psyche.

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Blue Valentine/2010/English

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir:Derek Cianfrance
Why FiC recommends?
1) Want to understand what’s ‘Marriage on the rocks’ and experience the pain? Simple: watch ‘Blue Valentine’. It’s a beautifully done study of cycle of love (start-progress-end) through cinema.
2) Be ready for the final scene- unapologetically heartbreaking yet realistically done. It is that kind of movie which you don’t want to watch again but at the same time you can’t forget, ever!
3) Special mention of Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling for their amazing performance.

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Melancholia/2011/English

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Lars von Trier
Why FiC recommends?
1) Pick any Lars Von Trier film, the main ingredient you find is the ‘suffering’. Melancholia has a celestial touch to it. I am not sure if it can be simply tagged to ‘sci-fi drama’. It seems weirdly more than that.
2) The scene sequence in the climax deserves a special mention. It is done extraordinarily and feels dreamlike.
3) Kirsten Dunst (as Justine) has pulled off one of the most complexly written characters.

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Naayi Neralu/2006/Kannada

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Girish Kasaravalli
Why FiC recommends?
1) Not all novel-based films do justice to the original work. But Kannada director Girish Kasaravalli has a track record of giving some of the greatest film adaptations of novels. This one is no exclusion. (It is a popular work by SL Bhyrappa)
2) Eventhough the central theme is ‘reincarnation’, what makes the film thoroughly engaging is the chain of incidents around the same.
3) Right from the beginning the film grabs the audience into its own world, thanks to the cast for their realistic and captivating performance.

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Antichrist/2009/English(Denmark)

FiC Rating: 4.5/5
Dir: Lars von Trier
Why FiC recommends?
1)’Transgressive’ themed films have a special seat in the history of cinema and director Lars Von Trier (LVT) has contributed a lot in this area. Antichrist is probably the best film to get introduced to LVT filmography.
2) Apart from being deeply philosophical (which is the inherent nature of all transgressive films) Antichrist has a very strange pace and vivid color tone which in its all capacity has the ability to make the viewer uncomfortable yet absorbed throughout its runtime.
Note: This is the first movie of LVT’s ‘Depression Trilogy’.

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Ghamak Ghar/2019/Maithili,Hindi

FiC Rating: 5/5
Dir: Achal Mishra
Setting: Rural
Why FiC recommends?
1) A rare slice-of-life drama coming from India, where a ‘home’ in a village acts as the protagonist. This gem of a film effortlessly pumps in nostalgia – so much so that – if you’re someone with your roots in a village, you may start feeling guilty once the movie ends! (be careful!!)
2) To see this ‘home’ stands still and witness three generations pass through it- is a heart-whelming experience yet somehow painful. In my opinion a full on 5-star film!
Note: If you’re a filmmaker have a close look into this amazing cinematography, where the film embodies three different looks in its runtime!

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Bhonsle/2018/Hindi,Marathi

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Devashish Makhija

Why FiC recommends?
1) After spine chilling debut ‘Ajji’, Mr.Makhija’s 2nd feature also follows thematically the same path to bring out the filth in the society.
2) The central plot is around the never ending ‘insider-outsider’ conflict that Mumbai has been bearing since decades. Manoj Bajpayee who is also the co-producer of the film, gives yet another stellar performance on screen.
3) This slow paced film uses only four major characters (a retired cop, a local wannabe politician, a nurse and her younger brother) but leaves behind a long lasting impression because of director’s uncompromising style of storytelling.

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Nasir/2019/Tamil

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Arun Karthick
Setting: Town
Why FiC recommends?
1) Among all the cinema genres out there, there’s a special one – ‘important films’. These are the kind of films which reveal something important about the times we live in. Nasir deserves a place in this category.
2) The film captures a day of a common man. It starts with his morning, traverses through his monotonous uninteresting day and ends with.. okay, let me not add any spoiler.
3) Personally, I didn’t like the climax of this film, but at the same time I am well aware that a climax of that sort was important for the director to tell something solid.

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Amrutha Varshini /1997/Kannada

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Dinesh Baboo
Why FiC recommends?
1) A slow moving drama is one of the rare films made in India around the conflicts of love and its power in manipulating one’s mind.
2) Musically this is probably the best movie made in Kannada in the 90’s. If you’re a fan of Indian melody music – you’re going to like it for sure.

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Post Tenebras Lux/2012/Spanish,French,English

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Carlos Reygadas
Why FiC recommends?
1) Despite many complaints on this film that – ‘it’s a very personal film from the director which has nothing to do with the viewer’, it is one of those very few rule-breaking cinemas to have redefined ‘what a cinema could be’.
2) Yes! it demands a lot of patience from the viewer. It’s not because there’s nothing happening through the length of the film which someone can easily comprehend, but because of its sheer exploratory style.

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Naked/1993/English

FiC Rating: 4/5
Dir: Mike Leigh

Why FiC recommends?
1) It was controversial when it released because of its raw portrayal of very human nature through it’s protagonist Johnny (amazingly performed by David Thewlis).
2) The film is filled with scenes which leave the audience confused with some magical mix of fun, pun and philosophy. It’s a great ride, you just have to stick to it.

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Force Majeure/2014/ Swedish,Norwegian

FiC Rating: 53.5/5
Dir: Ruben Östlund

Why FiC recommends?
1) Some movies are not for reviewing, they just have to be watched and experienced. It’s difficult to write about such experiences. This movie is a slow poison, but once it levels upto the neck, there’s no going back!
2) The intelligent script puts you in dilemma whether to laugh or cry. Some say it’s a slap to male ego, some say it’s a pure portrayal of innate human psyche. Whatever it is about, it’s a delight for the audience!

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Sulemani Keeda/2013/Hindi

FiC Rating: 3.5/5
Dir: Amit V Masurkar
Setting: Urban

Why FiC recommends?
1) The story of two friends who are trying their luck as script writers and hoping to make it big in Bollywood films. A very simple story yet very engaging.
2) Through pun and satire, the director wants to tell the world how absurd and unstructured the film industry usually runs in India.

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